The Everyday Utah Chronicle | A Deep Dive into UMFA’s ‘Space Maker’


Space Maker, an exhibition showcasing a variety of art forms, opened at the Utah Museum of High-quality Arts on Saturday, Aug. 21. The exhibition characteristics function from U school and is guest curated by U alumna Nancy Rivera.

“I am really happy of all the work that was selected,” Rivera said. “Seeing it up, it is just truly definitely amazing, and I hope that when men and women see it, they experience a identical sense of pleasure.”

This is the first exhibition Rivera curated at the UMFA, but she is no novice when it comes to Utah’s art scene.

“I am an artist,” Rivera said. “I do the job with a range of media, especially images, 3D and installation do the job and some video work as properly.”

Rivera observed her footing in images, as she graduated from the U with her grasp of good arts in photography in 2016.

Her fascination began as a teenager.

“In higher faculty, I took a images course and that is when I realized images was my factor,” Rivera stated. “I could in no way paint, I could never draw and [I realized] that the camera was one thing I really connected with.”

Even though attending the U, she began to check out distinct artwork mediums and how they could do the job in tandem with pictures.

“During my time in grad faculty, I definitely experimented with other media,” Rivera stated. “I understood that I could use photography as a instrument that carried out other media to develop on the concepts that I was working with.”

Rivera has worked on a selection of projects all about the point out of Utah including Impossible Bouquets: Following Jan van Huysum at the Utah Museum of Up to date Art in 2018.

Jan van Huysum is an 18th-century artist acknowledged for his paintings depicting bouquets of distinctive climates and seasons jointly in just one scene, some thing that was difficult in the 18th-century — this inspired Rivera.

“Thinking about [his work] in the context of our modern entire world, I variety of obsessed more than it,” she mentioned.

By her task, she put a fashionable twist on van Huysum’s work.

“I gathered the exact bouquets that he utilized, but they have been all artificial,” Rivera said. 

She adopted a identical design to how he crafted his art by photographing them following a florist arranged them.

“It was referencing his work, but also pointing out, contemporarily, how we have interaction with one thing like mass output and all of the distinct issues that appear with plastic bouquets,” she said. “[It] also [focused on] the notion of interacting with this function as a painting as opposed to a photograph. It was a commentary on the contemporary strategies in which we generate and interact with character.”

A lot more recently, in October 2020, Rivera was featured in a two-man or woman gentle-sculpture exhibition at Granary Arts titled Facing House.

“The exhibition’s theme talked about our knowledge as multicultural, folks of shade, and our expertise living in [the United States],” Rivera explained. “For me, it was speaking about immigration. I moved from Mexico to the United States when I was really youthful, with my mom and dad. [It explored] the plan of what remaining an immigrant means for me individually, but also as a dynamic that it developed for my household.”

As a Mexico Town native, Rivera reflects on the immigrant working experience in substantially of her perform.

“For a prolonged time I wasn’t contemplating about that experience as a component of my function,” Rivera claimed. “Recently, specifically after [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] grew to become a point and folks my age began chatting about currently being an immigrant, I imagine that opened up a dialogue.”

In 2017, Rivera turned a naturalized citizen.

“That second was the catalyst for [me] to assume about like that expertise by means of my perform,” she stated. “That’s how I began to drive myself to consider of methods that I needed to help and that I wished to address by means of art.”

Also, in just the past couple yrs, Rivera has made her do the job as a curator.

“I do the job at the Utah Division of Arts and Museums,” claimed Rivera. “I oversee the visual arts system there, and that has given me the opportunity to curate work and exhibitions for the two galleries that we take care of, the Rio Gallery and Atlas Gallery. Independently, I have also experienced the prospect to curate a couple of exhibitions, together with House Maker, which was these types of an exciting enterprise.”

As a result of curating Place Maker, Rivera uncovered herself again on the U’s campus, doing the job with familiar faces at the UMFA.

“Many of us on the UMFA staff members have regarded Nancy skillfully and as an artist for several yrs,” said UMFA Senior Curator Whitney Tassie. “She has a truly sturdy creative exercise, and her function at the Utah Division of Arts and Museums is very well regarded. Also, we know her from her time at the U. She’s just one of our have and intimately is familiar with the artists in [Space Maker], as effectively as the museum, university and U at substantial.”

As guest curator of this exhibition, Rivera experienced to opt for which pieces to show in it.

“We invited all the college members, like each a tenure observe and adjunct professors to submit operate for inclusion in the exhibition,” said Rivera. “I believe all people functions in these a distinctive way. There are some similarities, but overall, everything has its individual one of a kind stamp. It was difficult to sit down and [figure out] what is every little thing conversing about and what connects the operates.”

House Maker will be at the UMFA until eventually Dec. 5. To discover far more about the exhibition, visit the UMFA web site.

To retain up with Rivera and her function, take a look at her web-site at


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